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Run time: 37 minutes

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(157.9 M)512Kb MPEG4
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Basil WrightSong Of Ceylon (1934)

something has gone horribly wrong 8-p
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Bizarre "documentary" of "primitive" life in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Commentary consists of excerpts from Robert Knox "An Historical Relation of Ceylon", written in 1681.


This movie is part of the collection: Short Format Films

Producer: Basil Wright
Production Company: GPO Film Unit, Great Britain
Audio/Visual: sound, black and white
Language: English
Keywords: Ceylon, documentary, surrealism, 1934, British

Creative Commons license: Public Domain


Individual Files

Movie Files DivX Ogg Video 512Kb MPEG4
Song Of Ceylon (1934) 396.1 MB
155.4 MB
157.9 MB
Image Files Thumbnail Animated GIF
Song Of Ceylon (1934) 5.7 KB
348.9 KB
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Song_Of_Ceylon_1934_files.xml Metadata [file]
Song_Of_Ceylon_1934_meta.xml Metadata 1.3 KB
Song_Of_Ceylon_1934_reviews.xml Metadata 2.4 KB

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Average Rating: 4.67 out of 5 stars4.67 out of 5 stars4.67 out of 5 stars4.67 out of 5 stars4.67 out of 5 stars

Reviewer: Jaanaka - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - May 21, 2011
Subject: finally found
I have heard about this movie and wanted to watch .....and finally found it here........

Reviewer: nycmoviemaker - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - November 10, 2009
Subject: Famous ethnographic film
I am curious as to why the person who uploaded this film described it as "bizarre." Such a description is unfair. Song of Ceylon is considered a "prototype of the impressionistic vignette film," and was made by John Grierson and Basil Wright for the Ceylon Tea Propaganda Board in 1934. Grierson is considered by many to be the "father of documentary film," perhaps because he first used the term in reference to non-fiction film that was not solely ethnographic film. Obviously, Song of Ceylon is not like most of the documentaries we see today. It is an mythopoetic film which set out to celebrate the people of Ceylon and comment on how the production of tea was changing their culture. However, this film isn't quite able to escape Eurocentric romanticizing of its the subjects and their way of life, since the filmmaker narrates and uses old text from a Western writer, without allowing teh Ceylonese to speak for themselves. It was criticized by ethnographers and intellectuals as being "too arty." Nevertheless, the film is beautiful, rhythmic, lyrical and captures a place and time which should be appreciated.

Reviewer: pokute - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - April 16, 2008
Subject: Notes on the rip
This 400 Mb Divx/AC3 file was ripped from a VHS tape of unknown provenance. The source was hard-telecine, and very dark. I was able to pullup and deinterlace it, and I also normalized the luminance somewhat. This 1200 kbps avi file looks a good deal better than the original tape!